While not considered a blues legend, Gary Rossington is a name that is synonymous with the world of rock and roll, and specifically with the Southern rock genre. As one of the founding members of the legendary rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rossington has left an indelible mark on the music world, both through his iconic guitar playing and through the countless musicians he has inspired and influenced over the years.
The band’s official social media account broke the news with a statement that read,
“It is with our deepest sympathy and sadness that we have to advise, that we lost our brother, friend, family member, songwriter and guitarist, Gary Rossington, today.
“Gary is now with his Skynyrd brothers and family in heaven and playing it pretty, like he always does. Please keep Dale, Mary, Annie and the entire Rossington family in your prayers and respect the family’s privacy at this difficult time.”
Rossington was the only remaining original member of Lynryd Skynyrd.
Born on December 4th, 1951, in Jacksonville, Florida, Rossington grew up in a musical family, and it was clear from an early age that he had a natural talent for playing the guitar. In the late 1960s, he formed a band with several other musicians from the Jacksonville area, including Ronnie Van Zant and Allen Collins, who would later go on to form Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Lynyrd Skynyrd quickly became one of the most successful and influential bands of the 1970s, with Rossington’s virtuosic guitar playing a key part of their distinctive sound. His use of the slide guitar, in particular, became one of the defining elements of the Southern rock genre, and his ability to blend blues and rock influences helped to create a sound that was both powerful and deeply emotional.
Tragically, in 1977, Lynyrd Skynyrd was involved in a plane crash that killed several members of the band, including Rossington’s childhood friend and bandmate Ronnie Van Zant. The crash left Rossington with severe injuries, and he was forced to take a hiatus from music while he recovered.
However, Rossington’s love for music never waned, and he continued to play and write songs during his recovery. In the 1980s, he formed a new band called Rossington Collins Band, which included several other former members of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Although the band had some success, Rossington’s heart remained with his original band, and in the 1990s, he reunited with surviving members of Lynyrd Skynyrd to form a new version of the band.
Since then, Rossington has continued to tour and record with Lynyrd Skynyrd, and has remained a beloved and influential figure in the world of rock and roll. His legacy as a guitarist and songwriter has inspired countless musicians over the years, and his commitment to keeping the spirit of Lynyrd Skynyrd alive has ensured that the band’s music will continue to resonate with fans for generations to come.
Overall, Gary Rossington’s life and influence can be summed up in one word: legendary. As one of the greatest guitarists of all time, and a founding member of one of the most important bands in rock history, Rossington’s impact on the music world will be felt for years to come.
Rossington had a history of heart issues and previously had surgery following a heart attack in 2015.
His cause of death has not yet been revealed. The “Free Bird” musician had an emergency heart procedure in 2019.